Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TUESDAY DAY 13 - January 30th

Angee is asleep so I have been delegated the responsibility of writing todays chronicles. Today was our last day in Xi'an. We met Amanda at 9:30 for breakfast at the buffet in the hotel. We had a nice breakfast. Flower still isn't eating a lot at breakfast. But she still likes to have some fried noodles every morning. As we said goodbye in the lobby Amanda got a little teared up. I think Flower must have sensed this because she hugged Amanda a long time without moving. Thats when Amanda really started to cry. I got a little choked up and I am pretty sure Angee did too. Flower started to cry a little as she saw that we were not going outside yet. So Amanda walked us to the elevator and we said our final goodbyes there. Flower said bye, gave Amanda a kiss and then got in the elevator with us. She did not shed a tear, probably because she did not realize it would be a while before she sees Amanda again. Ang teared up all the way up to the room. We finished packing, triple checked the room and sat and watched TV until the bellman came for our bags at 12:15. We checked the room one last time and headed downstairs to checkout. Jo met us in the lobby and we packed our bags into the van and headed to the airport. Flower fell asleep a few minutes into the drive. It takes about an hour to get to the airport from the hotel, its in a smaller city called Xianyang outside of Xi'an. It was a pretty quiet ride. Flower was asleep, Angee and I were still kind of groggy and Jo and the driver were having their own conversation. I think since Jo knows we are leaving she didn't feel like she had to entertain us anymore, so I was fine with that. Everyone knows I don't much care for pointless small talk. When we got to the airport Flower woke up. Jo got us checked in, convinced the guys to let us take an extra bag for free, and walked us to the security gate. Before we said goodbye I remembered the 300 RMB that Flower was given in a piggy bank. It was all in 1 Yuan coins. I didn't really want to carry around 20 pounds in coins so Jo was nice enough to trade me the coins for bills. We said goodbye and went through security and off to our gate. We only had to sit around for about 40 minutes before we piled onto the bus that took us out to our airplane. For some reason we weren't given a choice if we wanted to buy a seat for Flower or not. But her ticket only cost $18 so it wasn't that big of a deal. And it turned out to be really nice to have that extra seat. This is the first time she has ever flown. She did OK. We had to distract her with pictures in the magazine during takeoff, and that seemed to work well. She did not like having her seat belt on so she would fuss about that off and on. And she did not care for the turbulence much, but over all I was proud of my little girl. Across the aisle was a Chinese family that had a child, probably a month or two older than Flower. It was cute to watch because whenever the other child would cry Flower would stop her crying and look over to see what was wrong with the "baby". Angee and I also started to notice that whenever we would do something to help Flower forget about her discomfort with the flight, like look at pictures in magazines or let her look out the window, the mother across the aisle would watch us. When it worked she would do the same thing. Its kind of scary to think that we are now "model parents". Heaven help the Chinese =). So about 5 p.m. we got to the airport in Guangzhou. We got all our stuff and headed out. There was a gal from the White Swan Hotel with a sign for "Kennoth Jensen", I figured close enough and we went with her. Jo had already told us that Chris, our facilitator, would not be able to meet us at the airport and that we probably wouldn't meet up with him until the next day. We followed the gal outside and our bags were loaded into a nice white Mercedes. This hotel goes all out! The back seats actually recline. Im sure this isn't anything special to all you nice people out there, but to us simple folk this was pretty tight. The driver sped us, at 80 mph rather then the 30 mph we were used to in Xi'An :), to the hotel in about 30 minutes. We did notice that the driving here in Guangzhou is considerably better than Beijing and Xi'an, but still pretty scary. This city looks a lot like Orlando Florida. The weather is very nice and everything is really green. There are even palm trees. This city looks like it has a higher standard of living, but there were still lots of very poor looking buildings. We have been told that this place is a lot more expensive than other other parts of China. The hotel is pretty nice too. It is on an island of sorts. It is on the Pearl River. Our room is on the 11th floor and faces the river. Across the river is Barstreet. It looks like a mini Las Vegas, but I don't think they allow casinos here so its probably just what it says, a bunch of bars. I held Flower up to the window so she could see all the lights and the boats in the river. She loved it. I pushed a chair up to the window so I wouldn't have to keep holding her, and she just stood there for a long while. We finally had to pull her away from the window and then headed out to take a look around. The hotel has some very fancy decor. There is a waterfall that feeds into a little river that is full of huge gold fish. Flower loves fish. So we walked around looking at all these huge fish. She thought the waterfall was really neat too, until we got to a spot were we can stand underneath it. That kind of freaked her out. It was loud and wet. There are foreigners all over this hotel with small children. Its like the adoption hub of China. Actually, it IS the adoption hub of China. All adoptions in China have to be finalized in Guangzhou to get visas for the child to travel. So this whole island is the White Swan hotel and tons of shops to try to sell to us foreigners. We chatted with an older couple and found that they are traveling with their son and his wife for their adoption. They were a neat older couple and they told us about a decent restaurant just down the block where Angee could get some mashed potatoes. Poor Idaho girl is getting a little home sick for potatoes =). After we finished walking around the hotel we took their advice and headed to Lucy's bar and grill. Ang changed her mind and got a cheese burger and fries. We got Flower her old standby, stir fried noodles, and I got a BLT. I love Chinese food! I mean I have been in hog heaven here most of the time. But having been a little ill for the past couple of days Chinese food does not sound like anything I want to vomit up. The past couple days all I have eaten is bread. So I decided to live on the wild side and add some bacon, lettuce and tomato to my bread diet. It was pretty tasty. We were eating outside and we started to hear some music over on the river. Flower quickly lost interest in her food and just wanted to dance. This girl likes to dance! Ang did not like her cheese burger too much. The cheese here is a little different, its hard to explain. Its not terrible, but it is just different. As I waited for the check Ang took Flower over to the river to hear the music. After I paid I went and joined them. I got there just seconds too late. Apparently the music was part of a light show that the other hotels across the river put on. Ang said it was pretty cool, maybe I will see it tomorrow. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at 7 Eleven to buy some bottled water and Ang got some Skittles. It is funny that Angee keeps trying to buy American foods here like Oreos and Skittles but when she tries them she is always disappointed to find out that they do not taste the same as back home. We got back to the hotel, put Flower down to bed and started to relax. We only have two twin beds, and unlike the hotel in Xi'an we are not able to push these beds together. And worse these beds are hard as rocks. So Angee asked me to write this update as she started to fall asleep. She woke up a little bit ago with her hand, arm, and feet dead asleep. The hard bed has caused her to loose all blood flow to her limbs. I made her get out of the bed, I put all the pillows on her bed, covered them with her comforter, and then had her lay on that. Then I covered her with the other comforter to keep her warm. It must have worked cause she has now been asleep for a couple hours while I watch TV and try to write this update. That is my story. Adios. Addition by Ang at 4:00 a.m. When KG came to bed at 1 a.m., since he didn't have any pillows or blankets, I told him to join me in my little bed. We, not being small people, were essentially sharing the width of one pillow, the short way, across and four pillows down. He still hadn't fallen asleep at 3:30 and I kept waking up. I was not happy that we were spending $100 a night to have to sleep on pillows in one twin bed! I finally went down to the lobby to see if they had any softer beds. They brought up two pillow top mattress covers and made the beds up nice. KG is now in bed, and seems to be ok. Now I am attempting to get Flower calmed and to sleep. 'Night.

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